Since starting my career in makeup and special effects two decades ago, I have learned how important self-care is for myself and my professional practice. As self-care and beauty practitioners, we give so much of ourselves and need to recharge to avoid burnout. We have to keep up with the Joneses, keep our obligations, keep up with our children, and with social media. But firstly, we need to keep up with ourselves because when we're broken, we're no good to anyone. Here are some tips to address common problems and care more for ourselves in 2018.
Self-care tips for wellness professionals
I've struggled with back issues from bending over with my arms up for 8 to 10 hours a day. No client is so important that you should be putting your body in physical harm, so the first thing I'll say is that if you need to rest a moment in between work, do so.
To alleviate the muscle tension, I've booked a weekly massage for many years now to allow my body to relax and recuperate. Constantly stretching, and long soaks in a tub of epsom salts at the end of the day have helped as well, and I've found that adding lavender oil to my bath helps with calm relaxation and a peaceful sleep.
Stopping and getting up to stretch several times a day helps to realign the body because over time, posture can suffer. Sleep and good diet are critical to maintaining stamina throughout the day, so make sure you get at least eight hours of sleep and stock the fridge with healthy choices for food full of nutrients. Power bars or nutritional snacks will boost metabolism throughout hectic work days. I'd also suggest trying to avoid coffee overload. Sure, it's a quick pick me up, but it also suppresses your appetite and makes your system work harder. If you go long periods with only coffee, it can lead to tremors, irritability, depression, and spikes in your insulin levels, making your organs work harder than they need to.
Hairdressers are always working with their arms up in a pulling fashion. Nail technicians, do short, repetitive motions for hours at a time. I find that stopping and doing hand and arm stretches can really ease the cramping that comes with repetitive motions. Soaking hands and wrists in ice water at the end of the day can be very beneficial to reduce inflammation that develops. For those standing most of the day, five minutes of sitting down with the legs up can also help to reduce the pressure.
Caring for the mind, body, and workspace
Our mental health is important too. Not only do we make people look better, they confide in us about their lives. We take a lot in on a daily basis, and we need to unload. I can attest to grabbing the glass of wine at night over taking a walk or doing some meditation, due to all that life has thrown at me (fire, death, injuries, money stress, abuse, breakups!), but I suggest a healthy release over a not-so-healthy one. In the end, if we aren't good to ourselves, how can we be good for others?
When we work with clients, we are generally doing detailed work around the face, and you want to be alert so you don't have avoidable mishaps. Some people are more alert in the morning, while others are better in the afternoon. So try to schedule work and activities to what best suits your body cycle to work efficiently and be more productive in the long run. I find the Winter months the most gruelling due to the lack of sunlight, so boosting Vitamin D intake can help those Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) side effects. During these months, 30 minutes of light therapy per day can stimulate the system and help your body recover faster from fatigue.
Your working environment is also incredibly important. Are you located in a room with no windows, or do you have painted colours on the walls that affect your mood? Some fluorescent lights can be very draining on the eyes, affecting vision and mental well-being over time. The answer can be as simple as changing out the bulbs to more natural light, so your brain receptors don't work as hard, resulting in more energy over time. If you're in a salon, are you comfortable with your co-workers? Having drama or emotional vampires around can really drain your energy at the end of the day, even if you've had a light workload. Surround yourself with people who are uplifting and don't drop their issues onto others.
I would suggest that parents who work full-time and then come back to work in the family home set aside even 30 minutes a day for themselves. If it's a bath or yoga practice, going to the gym, or even sitting in your car listening to music, the busy parent needs down time to recharge for their partner and children.
Self-care tips for everyone
Some of the practices I encourage for everyone are massage, acupuncture, reflexology, yoga, going to the gym, outdoor activities, weekend retreats, a healthy diet and nutritional supplements, and spending time with family and friends.
We also have to practice self-love through human touch, or you may get irritable and lack confidence and self-esteem. Physical touch releases built-up anxiety and restores and refills the empty well through hugs, and sex with our partners or even ourselves. For the singles out there, it may not be easy to get the cuddles. Pets are a great outlet for snuggle time, or going for a foot massage or body rub can reinvigorate the soul.
Let's make 2018 about self-care and putting ourselves first. This is not meant to be selfish - it's about being selfless, so that we can be our best selves for those who are in our lives on a daily basis.